Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Reprieve for blighted Belmont house

"I don’t want to die in hurrying to meet a deadline I can’t honestly meet." - C.W. Rogers

Charlottesville, Va. – At tonight’s meeting City Council granted a reprieve for the blighted house at 704 Montrose Avenue. Owner Charles W. Rogers agreed to demolish the house by the end of October when Council will unlawfully seize the house and destroy it if it still exists.

Rogers assured Council that won’t be necessary. He will have the house taken down after he has removed his belongings stored in the house unoccupied for 30 years.

Council’s destruction of the house and lean on the lot for the cost of demolition would be a felony civil rights violation. What right would Council be violating? Due Process – the right to have a judge and jury decide if you have violated the 2001 Spot Blight Ordinance and what punishment fits the crime.

Neighborhood Development Services Director Jim Tolbert presented the prosecution. Co-accuser Patty Armstrong has fallen ill and was absent. Tolbert conceded an actual person interested in purchasing the cleared lot has called his office.

Tolbert has had many questions from the media and tried to claim the City is “not taking his property.” Yes, they are. They’re taking the house, not the land it sits on. Actually they’ve already taken it by dictating how and by when the legal owner will dispose of the property.

Councilor Holly Edwards said, "I'm sorry...The bottom line is safety...Safety is the bottom line." Basically Edwards is claiming safety trumps the Constitution she took an oath to uphold.

In his Aug. 11 letter, 77-year-old Rogers sets forth extenuating circumstances. People who promised to help were unavailable to help including independent City Council candidate Bob Fenwick. Rogers said he suffered a heat stroke with severe chest pains in July, which sent him to the emergency room.

In that letter Rogers asks for a few more weeks to remove his boxes of books, furniture and appliances. He also threatens to sue. “If I am not given a reasonable amount of time to do this work, I will have to hire an attorney and bring suit against the City Dept.”

Such a lawsuit would not be against a department or entity. Tolbert and Armstrong would likely be charged for their role in not turning the case over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. They might argue sovereign immunity, which the American Revolution abolished. “Doing my job” is not a legal defense for committing crimes such as stealing a house.

Video of Charlottesville City Council Sep. 6, 2011.

32-item, 283-page Council Agenda Sep. 6, 2011 with background materials and the Minutes of previous meeting written for and approved by Council.

Council rules blighted Belmont house has until September, July 7, 2011. Only Blair’s Blog listened carefully and reported that the 30 days was not the real deadline.

Latest hand-written letter from Charles W. Rogers

Aug. 11, 2011

Dear Sirs,

Several interested people wanting to buy the property at 704 Montrose have looked at the house but can’t decide until all the rooms are cleared out before full inspection. As you are aware all the 7 rooms are full of boxes of books, furniture, etc. I have only been able to clear out 4 rooms and will need a few weeks more to finish.

As you know by the papers July was the hottest month in years with temperatures every day in the high 90s and often topping 100. I am 77 years old and handicapped. In during this moving I suffered heat stroke and chest pains and had to go to the hospital emergency room.

This was the worst time of year you could have given me a 30 day ultimatum to clear out the house and have it appraised by repairmen or buyers. 30 days is an impossible deadline for me to dispose of all the contents. I don’t think I’m unreasonable to ask for more time.

The letter I originally got from the Planning Commission promised they would make an allowance for the aged or handicapped. I now ask for this.

When my embarrassing situation came out in the local paper, several people, among them Bob Fenwick running for City Council, offered to help me move the house contents but when I called them back later, nobody would give me a commitment for a time to meet me there to help.

So I have had to decide and put aside which things I wanted to keep and move into storage, what to donate to the local Goodwill, SPCA, Salvation Army, etc., and which to take to the dump. This is a slow process.

In the excessive heat I have had to limit myself to 2 or 3 hours in the evenings as my doctor said I was endangering my life with this excessive exertion. If I am not given a reasonable amount of time to do this work, I will have to hire an attorney and bring suit against the City Dept.

I have a bad back from degenerative disc disease but I never suffered bad chest pains until now. I don’t want to die in hurrying to meet a deadline I can’t honestly meet.

Why didn’t you wait till the early spring or fall to take this action against me? The terrible heat of July has just been too much for my body. I have long been declared handicapped by my doctor.

I’m not trying to put this off or delay action. I want to get this headache over with as much as you do. I am making a real effort to get this over with. I have disposed of 3½ rooms of clutter and have that amount left to go. I believe by this time next month it will be cleared out and a firm decision can be made as to whether repair or demolition can be reasonably assessed.

I think you’ll agree I was shocked by the City Council demanding I solve this problem in only 30 days as I was counting on the Planning Commission, which assured me I’d have six months to do this work.

I ask for a few more weeks.

C.W. Rogers

P.S. Please refer to your files on the letter informing me to appear before the Planning Commission (I can’t find my copy) in which it stated allowance would be given for the aged and/or handicapped (I am both). The interested parties won’t give me an estimate until I can clear all the house. I was formerly depending on the Planning Commission assurance of being given 6 months.

In other matters

M. Rick Turner, president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle NAACP, embarrassed himself and the community once again. Claiming skin color, Turner wondered why the Downtown Mall had so few black faces. It must be racism, not that blacks have better things to do or have mostly moved away.

Let me explain it once again. It is self-segregation. A small group of blacks have adopted the thug culture and speak like they learned English from a rap video. A larger group of blacks defend the thugs by claiming racism and demanding restorative justice for thugs instead of equal justice. To non-blacks, it’s hard to tell who is the thug or the thug defender. If a black is not a thug, he’s accused of acting white or acting smart.

Then black leaders, members of the gangster culture like Turner himself who left UVa after smoking crack with a female police informant, ask repeatedly and loudly: Why is everybody avoiding us? At the same time these so-called leaders decry black violence in the black community, somehow not seeing it spill out into the whole community.

The City Council video says it all after the blight item as the climate item began. One guy is sidestepping his way toward the aisle. A second guy is stretched out in the last seat. The first guy has to jump over him and almost stumbles.

Why didn’t the second guy sit up to let the first guy out? Which one was white and which one was black? Either way the second guy is building a future where he won’t be able to point to good deeds to explain why people politely go the other way when they see him coming.

These black politicians are so blinded by skin color, they see no correlation between content of character and segregation.